Here are some ideas you could use for intercessions in Messy Church, All-Age Worship, assemblies, youth clubs etc.
Following Jesus’ instruction to be salt in our world, have map of the world or of your country or your town and a bowl of salt. Invite folks to come forward and sprinkle salt on an area and pray for that region. Alternatively, print out lots of A4-sized maps of your local area and have groups cluster round them, salting the local roads, pubs, schools and other facilities, praying as they go.
Put a small lamp (without shade) under a clear glass vase. Give out pens and sticky notes (the plastic, translucent type, not paper) and have people write or draw a few words or small picture to represent something they wish to bring to God. Then stick the notes on the vase and see God’s light shining on the situation.
Paper Plane Prayers
Give out A4 paper and pens. Write the name of a person, place, situation or issue that needs prayer, then fold your paper into a plane. At the signal, everyone throws their plane and catches one that lands, then prays for what is on the plane they caught. Repeat to exhaustion.
Bubble Wrap Prayers
Have a large sheet of paper, and bubble wrap the same size. Invite people to write items for prayer on the paper. You can do this as people come in. Try to have the paper completely covered. For the intercessions, cover the sheet with bubble wrap and invite people to come forward and pop the bubbles as they pray for that item. Alternatively, put the bubble wrap over a map and pray for places.
Pray along your fingers. Add people and issues local to you as appropriate.
Thumb: this is away from the others, so we pray for those who feel different and excluded …
First finger: this points the way, so we pray for those who lead us …
Middle finger: this is the tallest, so we pray for the gown-ups …
Ring finger: this is the weakest, so we pray for those who are feeling poorly …
Little finger: this is the smallest, so we pray for the children …
Give paper and pencils to the youngest children present and have them scribble on the page. Then look at what pictures you can see in the scribble (like finding pictures in clouds or burning coals) and pray about what you see. For example, one swirl might look like a fish (if you squint) so thank God for fish, or it might look like a number 6, so pray for 6 friends. If there is a big blue scribble, you could pray for people who feel ‘blue’ or ask God to help us keep the (blue) sea clean. Use your imagination! You can swap with others around you and find different pictures.
Give everyone two slips of paper and a pen and ask them to write the name of a person, place or issue that they wish to pray for, the same on both slips. Then they need to give one of the slips to another person, and keep the other themselves. You can either do the swapping during the peace if you have such a thing, or give children small baskets so that they can run around collecting slips and giving them out. (Prime the baskets with a few extra prayers first so that people can put a slip in and take one out. It doesn’t really matter if some people end up with three.) Then on the signal, everyone prays out loud at the same time – a very short prayer – one for each of their slips. “God, please look after Bob, and help the children who have exams to sleep well.”
Give out A4 paper in various colours. Fold it in half vertically and in half again to make a tall, thin strip. Starting from the fold, tear out half-heart shapes (you can get three from a sheet) to get six ragged hearts. These can symbolise the broken-ness of situations. (You can pre-make the hearts if you wish) Have people write on the hearts any things they wish to bring to God, then fold then in half, so that the point of the heart comes level with the top bumps of the heart. Roll this into a cone shape and it looks like a crocus, one of the first flowers of spring and a sign of hope and new life. You can poke the flowers in to floral foam to make a bouquet of prayers, or you can staple three together onto a pipe-cleaner stalk to make a mini-bloom.
Set up a small table with fairy lights draped over with a gauzy fabric, a large bowl of water and a pile of rocks. Pass round some roses (use roses in full bloom, not new ones) and let folks take off a petal, thinking of something that is broken in the world as they do so. Then they can bring the petals to the table and lay them on the lights, on the stones or in the water as they prefer, thinking of God who is light in the darkness, the rock of ages, the living water.
Give out small rocks (preferably white or pale) and marker pens. Folks can write prayers on the rocks or draw or colour on them if they are too young to write. For the intercessions, you can pile the rocks up at the foot of the cross or round a large candle.
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